A Wisconsin man on the run from police for more than three years has been captured after being found hiding out in a bunker, police have said.
Jeremiah Button, 44, vanished in February 2016 just weeks before he was due to stand trial for charges relating to child sexual assault and indecent images of children.
But last week his makeshift hideaway – which was fitted with solar power panels to power LED lights, radios and other electronic equipment – was uncovered by a local hunter who had been exploring an area of state land around the town of Ringle, west of Wausau.
According to WSAW-TV, hunter Thomas Nelson had discovered the bunker’s log door several months ago, but did not probe further at the time.
He later returned to the site after being overcome with curiosity, and found Mr Button laying inside.
I pushed the door open, and I look inside and I can see canned foods, there’s little storage boxes, and I’m like… I gotta go in, Mr Nelson told WSAW-TV.
He added: I come around the corner a bit and there he is, laying in his bed. I mean, I was shaking when I went in, I was shaking when I went out.
Mr Nelson said he then left the bunker and called police, who later arrested Button after a 20-minute stand-off.
Following the arrest, Marathon County sheriff’s deputy Matt Kecker said Button had appeared to be almost happy to have some interaction with humans after his more than three years living as a fugitive.
Button is believed to have begun building the bunker while his case was being heard in court and had fitted it with items he scavenged from a local landfill.
Sheriff’s lieutenant Jeff Stefonek said Button had been thriving for the several years inside the structure from all the different supplies he was able to find.
He said: [Button] has solar panels up on the roof that power three car batteries inside the structure… and from those three car batteries he has running to LED lights and radios and cooling fans, all sorts of electronic equipment, some of it left intact for its intended purpose, and other things he took apart to fit the needs he had.
Button is now due back in court on 16 September for a pretrial conference.
His lawyers, Anne Renc and Jessica Phelps, were not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.